Empowerment and Productivity - The BIFM and Leesman Debate

Created on 15/07/16 09:47 by Tracey May

Sponsored by Herman Miller and ISS

By Tracey May, Bid & Marketing Manager


Wednesday I attended the BIFM SIGs ‘Empowerment and Productivity’ event at Polycom’s London offices, as part of World FM Day – sponsored by ISS and our partners Herman Miller.

 

It was a fantastic event. BIFM truly believes in knowledge sharing and pushing FM forward, with this being just one of over 100 free seminars they host each year.

 

This event, the 3rd part in an already information filled day, was kicked off by Chris Moriarty – MD of Leesman, discussing ‘productivity’ in the workplace.

 

Chris suggested that to assess ‘productivity’, organisations need to move away from the ‘cost’ as a driver and instead value ‘workplace contribution’.  His example - the simple carabina, a key, inexpensive piece of equipment used in climbing – the cost is irrelevant, its ‘contribution’ is huge – you wouldn’t want to go climbing without it. And like the carabina, each workplace should ‘contribute’ to your business, aid productivity, be assessed on how it enables your team to do their best.

 

“The design of my workplace enables me to work productively”

The first question Leesman asks.

 

Leesman Workplace Survey results

 

Out of 155,000 employees, only 56% said “yes”.

 

That means 44% or 68,200+ employees say their workplace doesn’t deliver, which as Chris argues, is a huge waste of human capital, and impacting psychological wellbeing.

 

Leesman using their standardised utilisation e-survey, helps explain “why?”. Sometimes it can be as simple as bad coffee, can’t get a meeting room when need one, everyday fight to get a spot in the car park. When a 6 person meeting room is being used by just 3 people, some will assume this is poor use of space. If asked, the users may say it’s a great space for 3 people to spread out and was, in fact, a really productive meeting. You need to ask questions.

 

Productive Meeting space

 

Productive Meeting space

 

If you are thinking of investing in your workplace, start by asking your team what they think - What tools they need? What would motivate and empower them? What would help them work productively? This is what Leesman does and the data can only benefit your business.

 

Last summer Leesman published their ‘100,000+ Workplace Effectiveness Report’ – so after conducting your Leesman ‘workplace analysis’, you can then compare it to over 1,300 other workplaces and see how it stacks up.

 

I like Leesman. It gives ‘people of the workplace’ a voice, measures Evidence Based Design and shares its research findings with everyone.

 

 

Empowerment and People

 

Next up was Julie Kortens, Chairman of the BIFM Board. Julie’s approach was more human focused – ‘empowerment’ and ‘people’, rather than surveys (like Leesman) - “We need to empower people to get the best from them”.

 

Julie Kortens BIFM Chair Human Design

 

So how can Leaders empower their teams?

Julie suggests setting goals but allowing your team to make their own journey towards them, even if they make mistakes, people should be allowed to make those mistakes and learn from them.  

 

In times when workplace processes and business requirements are constantly changing, I would suggest these goals are determined from collaborating with your team, not just with other members of management. Our workplaces are filled with a huge source of knowledge – different ages, backgrounds, career choices and together we can be creative with ideas, come up with new goals not thought of before and achieve more.

 

Some other key points

Provide an environment that fosters empowerment, for example – one that enables good communication and supports them

Teams should be coached not preached to. Allow them to set the agenda and create their own ideas.

Be aware of the levels of empowerment people are comfortable with - “if you put a 10W light bulb into a 100W socket it will glow dimly. If you put a 100W light bulb into a 10W socket it will blow”. It’s about getting the balance right.

It’s all about relating with people (not surveys) 

 

 

Julie Kortens and Chris Moriarty debate

 

I took positives from both arguments.

 

Julie is a dynamic, knowledgeable, trusting and open individual, who any person would thrive working under. I believe her vision, in the importance of autonomy and empowerment, which in turn will have a positive impact on the business.

 

But not everyone is like Julie.

Many people are unable to be open with their managers on workplace requirements, especially when there is a cost to it. Others may not actually be able to pin down exactly what’s wrong but they just know things could be better. This is when the impersonal but anonymous survey is king.

 

Surveys can be a great enabler of empowerment, and like other tools we use at IOR, give people an anonymous voice to define what tools they need to deliver, and in turn, improve productivity.  From defining quick wins to long term goals, when asked, “Does the design of your workplace enable you to work productively?” – hopefully you will have had an input, have made yourself heard, and can answer “Yes”.

 

IOR are workplace specialists and use a number of tools to empower your team – staff surveys, mood indicators, workshops, interviews, profiling and trials – each one can help define a wish list and brief that will deliver you a unique productive workplace.  Looking to re-design? Speak to us first. 

 

VIDEO CASE STUDIES

Three Mobile, Glasgow (BIFM Impact on an Organisation Winner)

Three Mobile, Maidenhead

 

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